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Sanctuary Place


Concrete, under the linoleum flooring, helps to moderate temperature swings.

Concrete played a key role in Farr Associates design of Sanctuary Place, a permanent supportive residence for once-homeless women and their children. Farr Associates had to integrate green elements on a tight budget and relied on concrete and concrete masonry to create an effective thermal envelope, reduce sound transmission between apartments, and provide a durable, safe and healthy living place.

Sanctuary Place relies on passive solar heat for some of its energy needs. The building is designed to pull in the sunlight from outdoors and since concrete is such a good solar sink it retains the heat from the sun to maintain a more constant temperature in the evening hours.

And like many buildings designed by Farr Associates, cast-in-place concrete, used in the building’s foundation, includes recycled fly ash, a byproduct of energy production that would otherwise fill landfills.

Concrete slabs are the completed ceiling in all the apartments, eliminating the need and extra expense of additional finish material. The use of concrete plank slabs also allow for a thin floor, which enabled designers to create higher ceilings, with no increase in building height – something that could not be achieved with other materials, such as steel.

Concrete also provides low-maintenance finishes on the building’s exterior through colored concrete blocks. Concrete contributes greatly to Sanctuary Place’s durability, which will help it last for years to come and provide a much needed home for many Chicago-area women and their children.